Counselling is key to overcoming depression, says judge

N. Kumar, judge, Karnataka High Court made pains to point out the important role that counsellors play in society. They not help prevent depression, but also assist in resolving disputes so that they do not reach the courts at all. He said a short-term course on counselling was the need of the hour to help overcome depression at the initial stage itself

Speaking at the Mental Health Day event, organised by the National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences (NIMHANS) on Monday, he said well-trained counsellors should be available at schools and workplaces so that the “mental health of the society” remained good in what is today a demanding society.

He said counsellors, through the process of mediation, could resolve matrimonial disputes that reach court for silly reasons and owing to ignorance of law, even between educated spouses. Today, many matrimonial disputes are more due to “mental issues” than “legal ones”, and they could be resolved with the help of counsellors, he added.

Mr. Kumar said children get depressed when parents force them to join courses they are not interested in. When they don’t fair well in exams, both parents and children get depressed. What then would be the impact on meritorious candidates, who fail to get a job owing to casteism, money power, political influence and favouritism, he asked.

Mr. Kumar said all sections of society are heading towards depression. What was more worrying was the higher percentage of women suffering from it.

At the same time, it was heartening to know that depression is treatable. He said it was time for NIMHANS to set the agenda for the nation to tackle depression, which has now been recognised as a “global crisis” by the United Nations.

P. Satish Chandra, Director and Vice-Chancellor of NIMHANS, said that a six-month course on counselling is being proposed and is likely to be launched in May next year.

NIMHANS also released a dozen video clippings of mental health messages with the slogan ‘Open your mind….help is available’, produced by a team of faculty members and students headed by Shekhar Seshadri of Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at NIMHANS.